Walking as an exercise

Learn How To Walk For Exercise

Walking to be fit is one of the most enjoyable type of “exercises” that there is!  However, in order to get the most benefit from our walks, we really need to learn proper techniques to how to walk for exercise, not just for pleasure, though a pleasant walk at times, can be exhilarating too.

Long walks can do wonders for everyone.  On the other hand, perhaps you can not walk for long distances or just don’t have the time to do so.  What then?

Shorter so-called “power walks” have been around for many years.  Surprisingly simple to do with many benefits.  Often times these power walks are done with light weights in either hand, swinging them as you walk.

The added weights will give you a better workout in addition to upper body muscle and strength.  However, there is an even better way to gain upper strength, shape, lose body fat especially in the mid section, get those shapely legs back,  develop  back muscles for good posture and much more.

Welcome To The Nordic Walking Poles

There is a great variety of poles to choose from.  So how do we choose?

Nordic Leki have pretty much dominated the market, and for good reason.  Usually they are a once in  a lifetime purchase, easy to work with, can be taken with you almost anywhere, and really give you that head-to-toe workout.

All done on a very low impact basis!

To quickly see the benefits of a walking exercise, we need to plan our walking routine.

What Things Do I Need To Know?

Nordic walking is a rather simple technique to learn.  However, just like anything new, it will take a little while to get used to the new motor motions of your body.  Once learned, it will stay with you and become automatic.

There is the  long arm technique.  This technique is teaching you how to stretch out your arms as you walk, much like extending your hand to shake with someone.  In our normal walking, the arms swing, but only slightly.  Nordic walking will allow us to use all of our upper body muscles.

The cupping and release of the pole is next.  As you move forward, your opposite arm will push you forward with the rubber “spring tip” at the end of each pole.  While your hand is at your hip, learn to release the end of each pole where you grip it.

In order to learn to release, we do need the correct type of hand straps so we do not completely lose the pole.

The long stride is also a part of the Nordic walk.  As you walk, you’ll note that you can take larger steps.  When you do, be sure that your heel touches first, then the rest of your foot will follow.

Depending on the type of terrain you are walking on, you may want to look into a comfortable walking shoe or boot.

As you develop this long stride, begin by walking through the motions slowly.  As you gain the needed skill and muscle memory, you can pick up the pace.  Keep in mind  that your pelvis will want to rotate more as you walk.  This is good.

The pelvic twist comes naturally as you extend each leg forward.  You’ll note that your shoulders also come into use.  All of this upper body movement is quickly,  giving your entire upper body a good workout,  burning fat as you walk.

Tips to the ground deliberately planted, will naturally make you grip your pole handle a bit tighter.  This is  a technique  that is mastered only after the above other techniques have fallen into place.

It may seem simple, but to learn the Nordic  walking technique the proper way,  takes on average, about 6 to 8 weeks.  During that learning time, remember to have fun!   Enjoy your walks!

Folks from all "walks" of life enjoy Nordic exercise

Folks from all “walks” of life enjoy Nordic exercises

What Things To Look For 

The above is just a quick overview of using  Nordic  walking poles to get the most beneficial exercise out of your walking routine.  However, there needs to be an awareness of some of the most common mistakes or errors that beginners make in their learning curve.

Once these mistakes are learned, they can be a challenge to rid ourselves of them.

What are they?  Let’s consider those next.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel SHARE this site

Images by:nordicwalkingnet,womenfitnessnet

What walking poles can do for you...

What walking poles can do for you…

We hear that statement often :  What walking poles can do for you…is simply amazing.  This rather simple tool can give you zest for life, an overall feeling of health, peace of mind along with being physically fit.  But how?

The Beginning Steps

If you’ve ever golfed or watched the game of golf, you’ll note that much of what is accomplished is through swing-technique.   That is, each stroke by every golfer is similar to each other…but slightly different too, because we are different.

The same can be said about using Nordic Walking Poles.  It is in the technique where we will get the most benefit.

The Break Down

The walking speed in which we begin our pole walking can determine how quickly we develop correct walking techniques.  Usually it’s best to walk slowly at first, being consciously  aware of how we are walking.

We’ll note  several things almost immediately.  Our walking stride will become longer, our back is straighter, chin is parallel to the walking surface, our arms are now being extending outwards as if shaking hands, our cardiovascular will improve almost overnight!

A slower, rhythmical type walking, almost graceful in appearance, can be accomplished within a short learning curve…if we learn the correct way right from the beginning.

Where Do We Begin? … At The Beginning of Course

Using Nordic walking poles is not like taking a stroll along the beach.  We are purposely walking a certain way to accomplish better health, lose weight, develop muscle, or have better breathing techniques.

Follow along as we progress through techniques that are necessary to master.

What To Focus On

Your focus should be on your upper body position.  Nordic poles “force” us to walk more upright, which in turn will develop muscles that keep good posture in our everyday walk.

Getting used to poles, one could spend much time on where the ends of each pole is landing and get distracted from walking correctly.

Concentrate on the long swing of your arms, once you find the correct “spot” for you, the pole tips will automatically find the correct positioning.

Pole rubber tips will give you that little extra push forward as you develop your stride.  Keep your shoulders level, eyes forward, hands relaxed while cupping the walking pole grips.

Release The Grip

Often times new ones to Nordic walking poles, will keep a tight grip on the handle of each pole, as if it were going to slip away from them.  However, with the proper hand strapping, you can release the grip each time you take a step.

That is just one of the proper techniques needed…releasing the grip when it is in the hip location as you walk.

Swing Naturally As You Walk

To start with, a flat surface is ideal.  Be aware of the way you are standing.  Stand as if you are being measured for your height.  Straight and tall but not at attention.

Now for the “beach walk” stroll, you’ll need to be at ease and walk slowly.  Concentrating on you posture, arm stretch out, grip release and so on.

Learn to completely let go of your poles.

Allow them to drag along with you.  Concentrate on that opposite movement of arms and legs working rhythmically with each other.  This will begin to feel  automated when we get it right.

Remember to keep you chin up, looking forward, and keep your balance.  This is the beginning development of proper posture.  Lower back muscle gains and back health will come quickly.

Proper grips

Proper grips are needed for release control

Motor Memory

Up to this point, as we walk or run, our arm movements have been short forward and backward movements to compensate for our balance.

With Nordic walking poles, we will need to learn to extend our arms out in front of us, (shaking hands across a wide table) with very little swing to the back.  In fact, long time Nordic pole walkers do not have hardly any rearward  swing past their hip area.

The forward hand extension should be no higher than about the middle of you stomach of navel area.  Your stride is also something that would lengthen as you progress.

Rotation of hips, slight shoulder rotation, lengthening of stride and arm stretch will give you that synchronized smooth walking skill we are trying to accomplish.

Proper grip, stride length, and rotation of hips are needed.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by:urbanchallengefr,relievejointinflammation